Health Unit reports an increase of E coli cases overnight
North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit News Release ******************** The Health Unit’s caseload of people who are ill with symptoms of E coli O157:H7 has increased overnight, as was anticipated.
North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
The Health Unit’s caseload of people who are ill with symptoms of E coli O157:H7 has increased overnight, as was anticipated. There are now 14 lab-confirmed cases of E coli and 38 are under investigation, bringing the total to 52 cases connected to this E coli outbreak investigation. All of the people who have become ill are linked to the Harvey’s Restaurant on Algonquin Avenue since September 28th 2008.
“Unfortunately, because of the number of meals served at Harvey’s Restaurant on a daily basis and the long incubation period of E coli O157:H7, we did predict that there would be an increase in the number of people who might be affected.” says Dr. Catherine Whiting, Medical Officer of Health. “Right now, I can tell you that the ages of the people who are ill range from 9 years old up to 84 years of age. Some of them are in hospital and some are recovering at home.”
Public Health Inspectors continue to collect information and analyze data to ensure that all possible sources of E coli are being investigated. City of North Bay emergency crews also conducted extra testing on the municipal water during the weekend. Lab test results confirm that drinking water is not the source.
“I also wish to remind people who work in daycares, health care facilities or in the food service industry that extra precautions must be taken before returning to work if you have been ill due to E coli O157:H7.” Says Dr. Catherine Whiting, “To prevent secondary transmission at your workplace, you should have a doctor’s note that states your lab results are negative.”
Symptoms of illness from E coli O157:H7 include bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, and/or vomiting and possibly a fever. Anyone suffering with these symptoms is advised to seek medical attention.
To prevent secondary infection at home, among family members of people who have been exposed to E coli O157:H7, the following precautions are recommended:
1. Ensure thorough hand washing, using soap and hot running water, before any food contact, and after any toileting or changing of diapers.
2. To effectively clean under fingernails, use a nailbrush and soap under hot running water. Rinse thoroughly.
3. Have separate towels for affected individuals.
4. Clean bathroom fixtures – taps, toilets, and doorknobs – at least once daily with an antiseptic cleaning agent such as bleach and water (1:10). A separate bathroom for an affected individual is best, if possible.
5. Laundering clothing, especially underclothes, should be done in hot water and dried in a hot dryer for a recommended duration of at least half an hour. If a garment cannot be put in the dryer, direct sunshine is of benefit.
For more information, the Health Unit has opened E coli information phone lines from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm, for today and tomorrow. Phone (705) 474-1400 or 1-800-563-2808. More information is also available online at www.healthunit.biz.